FoxValleyCorridorPlanSince launching earlier this year, the Fox Valley Sustainability Network (FVSN) has been hosting public forums built around different aspects of sustainability. The forums consistently draw dozens of municipal officials and topic experts from across the region.

In July, the Grand Victoria Riverboat Fund in Kane County approved a $34,000 for Seven Generations Ahead that will support a series of forums for the Network and the production of a Fox Valley Sustainability Report Card that will communicate progress against key goals and success indicators.

A forum on Oct. 7 at Aquascape Inc. in St. Charles focused on economic development. Attendees heard from Kane County’s resource management coordinator Cecilia Govrik and Chris Toth, a land urban planner for the county. They presented “success stories” that can serve as examples for the Fox Valley region. The stories were takeaways from the Sustainable Economic Development Convening, which took place in Cleveland last month.

One story success highlighted an initiative called Dayton Regional Green in Montgomery County, Ohio, which has developed partnerships with local utilities and introduced free and low-cost energy audits. Govrik and Toth said they think it’s important for the Fox region to identify projects that can be accomplished at the municipal, regional or network level.

Next up, Mark VankerKhoff, director of the Kane County Development and Community Service Department discussed Kane County Economic Development initiatives being explored to increase exports, develop industry clusters, and secure a federal designation as a manufacturing metals community.

Carpentersville Village President Ed Ritter talked about implementing the Fox River Corridor Plan in this town, tracing its heydays as a leader in development in the 1950s and ’60s. “Then it went south [and] we became the Cleveland of Kane County,” Ritter said. In the middle part of the last decade, “several of us got together and said we’ve got to change things.”

Today Carpentersville has created a business development commission to improve business development, made water quality improvements and removed land that was in the flood plain to create more commercial space.

“October’s Fox Valley Sustainability Network forum — our third to date — attracted representation from five counties and 12 communities, and is swiftly developing actionable projects that will support the achievement of a broad range of sustainability goals linked to the Fox Valley region,” Cuneen said.

Seven Generations Ahead, Kane County, City of Aurora, and a5 Branding & Digital are FVSN’s founding partners.

The next forum on Dec. 7 will address transportation, and the fourth forum, set for Feb. 8, 2017, will focus on food and water. For more information on FVSN, visit the website.